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OneEye’s TAC 2013 - Chinese, Japanese, 台語

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OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 33 of 41
31 July 2013 at 12:48pm | IP Logged 
I'm back from the US. For the most part, I kept up with reviewing Chinese and Japanese. I read a few passages from the high school classical Chinese reader I brought, and that's pretty much all I did.

I went through some of the boxes of books I have back home and found some really great stuff I had forgotten about, so I brought them back to Taiwan with me.

I have about 6 weeks until the fall semester starts. I'll be auditing an interpretation course in the translation and interpretation department, as well as a few palaeography classes in the Chinese department. I'll also be in two reading groups, studying Japanese, and doing translation work. And working on improving my Chinese. It's going to be busy.

Between now and then, there are a bunch of things I want to do. I'm going to be working through Fred Wang's Introduction to Chinese Cursive Script as well as a Yale textbook called Advanced Chinese: Intention, Strategy, and Communication. The latter looks pretty good. The articles are fairly easy to read, but the exercises look good and are focused on production, which will be useful for me. I'll also be working through a bunch of stuff on palaeography, archaeology, and phonology in preparation for the classes I'll be taking this fall. If I have time I'll also be going through some more of the high school reader and, of course, 尚書. And studying Japanese.

I don't expect to finish everything I'd like to in those 6 weeks, because things never go as well as they do when planning them. Whatever I don't finish, I'll spread out throughout the coming semester whenever I have some extra time. As I said before, I'll have to control my time effectively.

This week, I'm mainly resting. I'll study some, but nothing too intensive. My wife goes back to work on Friday, so I'll do a lot then. Next week I'll start in earnest.
1 person has voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 34 of 41
21 August 2013 at 8:57am | IP Logged 
Taking advantage of the typhoon day to update.

It looks like I'll be starting my MA this fall after all. I had planned on deferring in hopes of moving to Japan, but they offered me a much bigger scholarship than before which will be revoked if I defer. It will mean a free MA, so I'm starting in less than 3 weeks. I'm freaking out a little bit.

I'll still go to Japan next year if at all possible. I can take a leave of absence from the MA program for up to 2 years, so I can come back and finish later if I need to. If I can't go to Japan, then I'll just stay here and finish the degree.

One of the good things about it is that I'll have a year of "Advanced Chinese" classes paid for. The curriculum looks really good and focuses on exactly what I need right now, so I'm excited about that. I was planning on paying for classes this year, and now I won't have to.

Other than that, I'm auditing an interpretation class (the teacher's a friend and I promised) and taking a palaeography class. I think that's quite enough for my first semester, and I'll do more in my department in the spring. I'm a bit nervous about my ability to keep up, not to mention my ability to write papers in Chinese, which is why I'm only doing one class in my department this fall. The interpretation class won't require much preparation outside of class, so I can focus all my time on improving my Chinese, doing the research for the palaeography class (which is what I'm planning to specialize in), and studying Japanese.

I know that doing this will be really good for my Chinese, not to mention that the training I get here will be tremendously helpful when I start my PhD.

So from now until then, I'll be reading as much as I can in palaeography, brushing up on my formal/academic Chinese and Classical/Literary Chinese, and of course studying Japanese.

For studying Chinese, I'm reviewing Thought and Society (yet again) before moving on to an ICLP book called Aspects of Life in Taiwan 台灣社會短文集. I'll also be brushing up on the kind of language I'll need to use at school, like talking to professors, using the library, things like that. I might also do Literary Chinese for Advanced Beginners 進階文言文讀本, another ICLP book. I've done bits of it here and there, but I think that really buckling down with it would help me on multiple fronts.

With Japanese, I'll be continuing with Assimil. I've played around with other books, but I think I'm going to stick it out with this one. After I finish it, I'll probably go with Japanese: The Spoken Language because of the FSI-style drills it has. After that, we'll see. It depends on whether I'll be moving to Japan next year or not. I have a while to figure that out, so for now I'll just worry about finishing Assimil.

So that's it. Should be interesting.
2 persons have voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 35 of 41
04 September 2013 at 7:16am | IP Logged 
OK, so there have been a few developments in the past 2 weeks.

I went to registration and orientation yesterday. Everything went smoothly (partially thanks to the aforementioned brushing-up of "the kind of language I'll need to use at school"), that is, until I went to the office in the Department of Chinese. They told me that since my undergrad degree wasn't in Chinese (it was in music), I have to take 10 credit hours from an approved list of undergrad course. And any two other mandatory undergrad courses. So a total of 14-16 extra credit hours (depending on which classes I pick) on top of the 30 that the MA requires.

Most non-native Chinese speakers complete the 30 credits of coursework in 2 years. Going by that math, adding another 14-16 credits would add another year to the degree. I'm planning to choose undergrad classes that overlap somewhat with my graduate courses. I hope that this will both support the research I'm doing for my graduate courses by giving me a broad knowledge base, while at the same time keeping the reading load in check because many of the books will be the same or similar.

So this semester I'll be experimenting with that. I'm taking a graduate course in a specific sub-field of palaeography (漢字形體學研究), so I'll also take a general palaeography class in the undergrad department. I'm taking a graduate course in excavated texts and philosophy, so I'm taking an undergrad course in Chinese literature that focuses on early Chinese classics, many of which appear in said excavated texts. It's going to be hard work, I'm sure, but I'm really looking forward to it.

So...language learning goals. I want to be able to do a good job in my classes, and of course I'll have to write two ~20-page papers in Chinese at the end of the term. My goal for those, language-wise, is to write them so well that the professors won't know they were written by a foreigner without looking at my name (my Chinese name is one of those obvious foreign names). I also want to keep on pushing with Japanese, which means I'm really going to have to be careful with my time.

So that's it. I start Monday.
2 persons have voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 36 of 41
30 October 2013 at 4:29am | IP Logged 
Well, I must be busy, because I don't think I've thought about this thread once since my last post!

I didn't end up taking the undergrad course in Chinese classics that I had planned on taking, and it's a good thing.
I'm taking two graduate classes in my department: a palaeography course called 漢字形體學研究, and a course on
excavated texts called 出土文獻思想專題研究. Both are awesome, but the former requires a ton of work. I'm also
taking an undergrad palaeography class, which is good but also requires a lot of work. Outside my department, I'm
taking a consecutive interpretation class which isn't hard, but does require a good deal of time each week. I'm also
still doing translation and proofreading work whenever I can get it.

This semester has been great for my Chinese. I'm speaking it a lot, I'm surrounded by it in class, and I'm reading it
constantly. My speech has improved noticeably, and I'm sure it will continue to do so. I'm reading more fluently,
becoming more comfortable with simplified characters, etc. I'm also getting pretty good at Small Seal script (小篆),
as well as reading excavated bamboo strips from 楚國. Fun stuff.

I've also been pretty consistent with Japanese, finally. It's interesting that I'm doing more now when I have less free
time, but I guess it's because I'm structuring my time efficiently out of necessity. I've finished reviewing previously-
learned material in Assimil, and I've also started using Japanese the Manga Way and Japanese Sentence Patterns for
Effective Communication as supplements. I'm thrilled to be able to listen to talk show podcasts and at least know
generally what they're talking about. I knew about Angela Merkel's cell phone from hearing about it on a Japanese
podcast before I heard about it in English or Chinese, for example. Obviously, I didn't get all the details of what was
being said, but the fact that I could somewhat follow along was very motivating.

That's all for now. I need to get back to work. I'll update whenever I think about it.

Edited by OneEye on 14 November 2013 at 1:15pm

1 person has voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 37 of 41
22 January 2014 at 11:43am | IP Logged 
So it's been nearly three months since my last update. I've been insanely busy. Here are the highlights.

I ended up with a 97 in my undergrad 文字學 class. I'm really proud of that, because it has the reputation of being a
"weed-out class" among the undergrads. Massive amounts of memorization, lots of copying things out by hand (on
the order of a hundred pages or so filled to the hilt with tiny handwritten characters), etc. The final exam was
entirely in Small Seal script (小篆), which we first had to rewrite in regular script (楷書) and then answer. Not a picnic
by any stretch. I'll be taking part 2 of the class next semester, which starts mid-February.

I got an 83 in the interpretation class, which is an A in Taiwan. It doesn't count toward my GPA though, because it
isn't in my department. I haven't found out my grades for the other classes yet. I turned in my research paper for
one of them last week and am currently writing the other. The first was 12 pages on the historical development (and
especially corruption) of the form of the character 穆, all in Chinese of course. The second looks like it will easily be
30 pages or more, again in Chinese of course, and it's on the excavated text 《緇衣》.

Japanese study has been put on hold for the last month or so due to final exams and research papers. Once I turn in
my last paper (next Tuesday), I'll be getting back on it. My wife was offered an amazing job in Tokyo, so we're
moving there in July or so. I'll be putting graduate school on hold to learn Japanese, as advised by the professor I
want to do my PhD under. I'll continue working as a translator, which will help me keep my Chinese sharp and bring
in some income. After two years in Tokyo, if we decide we like living there and want to stay a few more years, I'll
apply to an MA program there and transfer whatever credits they'll accept. If not, I'll apply directly to PhD programs
in the US and do the same.

I spent a few days in Tokyo last week while my wife interviewed there. I didn't have much opportunity to use
Japanese because we were mostly with other English speakers, but I was pleased to find out that I was able to
converse with the cab driver during the 30-minute ride, hold a few other short conversations, and even take care of
currency exchange all in Japanese. Very broken Japanese of course, but still. It gave me an idea of where I really am,
and a direction for the next several months. I'll have more time to think about it all after I finish my research paper,
but I have a pretty good idea of what I'd like to work on. More on that in the next post, which hopefully will be just
after Chinese New Year rather than 3 months from now.
2 persons have voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 38 of 41
16 February 2014 at 3:02pm | IP Logged 
OK, here's the next update, as promised (sort of).

I ended up with A's in all of my classes last semester, and my next semester starts tomorrow. I've been really
struggling to figure out which classes I wanted to take, but I think I've finally got it nailed down. I'll be taking the
second half of the undergrad class I took last semester, and I'll also be taking a class on the history of Sinology in
Japan and one on Chinese philosophy in the Han Dynasty. I considered taking a class on calligraphic research and
one on dialectology. The former was primarily because it would require me to learn cursive (草書), which I can do
just fine on my own whenever I want to. The latter would likely require me to work heavily on my Taiwanese, which I
don't really have time to do, and also requires group presentations, which I loathe. I also have very different (and
much less traditional) views on Taiwanese than most Taiwanese people, which would create a lot of friction in the
group presentation and would probably not bode well for my grade, considering I'd want to tackle written Taiwanese
as my paper topic. Hopefully I can take a dialectology class during my PhD, because it's seriously interesting stuff.
I'd probably learn Cantonese given the choice anyway, if I didn't live in Taiwan.

So, to Japanese.

I've been reviewing previously-studied material, though not as much as I'd like. Starting tomorrow, I'll be using
Japanese for Everyone (not みんなの日本語, but the book published by Gakken) as my main book, with ゼロから
スタートにほんご会話 (Japanese Conversation Starting from Zero) and Shadowing: Let's Speak Japanese
book 1 to supplement. I'll primarily be focusing on speech and memorization of patterns, drilling them until they
become second-nature to me (overlearning). Written sentences will be added to Anki, but only after the spoken ones
have been mastered. Japanese for Everyone seems to contain practical language that I can use as soon as I hit the
ground in Japan, and the audio is acceptably natural for the purpose of imitation and acquisition.

I'd like to write at some point about how my views on language learning have changed recently and how my current
study reflects this, but that will have to wait until later.
2 persons have voted this message useful



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 39 of 41
25 February 2014 at 3:46pm | IP Logged 
OK, I'm a little 閒 this evening, so it's update time.

I didn't end up staying in the Han Dynasty Philosophy class. I'm not sure about the Japanese Sinology class either. I
will be taking the calligraphy class though. I sat in on it yesterday, and it's going to be awesome. I was afraid it
might be a "copy these famous works of 草書 over and over and then you'll be able to read and write 草書," but I was
mistaken. He's teaching us the principles behind 草書, such as what can be abbreviated and how, which is what I
really want. This is the only class I've been to during add/drop that I was actually excited about.

The Han philosophy class didn't turn out to be what I was expecting, and since the ~25 page paper will have to be
written after the semester is over (that's how the teacher works) and I'm not sure exactly when I'll be moving, I
figured the smart thing would be to choose something else. The Japanese Sinology class seems OK, but just OK. Not
exciting at all. On the positive side, the teacher wants to teach a free Japanese class to those of us who don't know
Japanese yet. The negative side of that is that it will be a Taiwanese cram school style grammar memorization class,
and her Japanese pronunciation is pretty heavily accented. I actually might end up taking a folk literature class,
because at least that will help as far as cultural knowledge and language ability. I'll sit in on that class tomorrow and
see how it goes.

I was actually thinking about reviving and working on my Taiwanese a fair bit before I leave. I'm a little torn on that
though. I'm not actually a big fan of the language per se, and there isn't really any media in the language that I'd
enjoy. It's more about the fact that I'd feel guilty not having learned at least basic Taiwanese after living here for 3
years. I know Hokkien is spoken all over Southeast Asia, but then so is Mandarin, and more so every day. It's just not
a very pragmatic choice given my limited time and the fact that it would be very difficult to maintain once I leave
Taiwan. Now Cantonese, on the other hand, has a lot of great movies and is also fairly widely spoken. It also has a
more robust writing system. Written Taiwanese is an absolute nightmare. So if I have time, I may start on Cantonese
this semester. It will always only be a hobby, of course, but hours eventually add up, and I'll probably have the
chance to visit Hong Kong fairly regularly if I want to. I went there for Chinese New Year this year and had a blast.

OK, to Japanese. As I said, I'm using Japanese for Everyone. I really like it so far. I'm on Lesson 4, and should finish
Lesson 5 this weekend. I'm also finishing up with the review of Zero Kara/ゼロから and Shadowing, and should be
ready to move forward with those next week. Right now I'm putting in 2-3 hours per day with Japanese, but of
course as the semester goes along it may not be possible to sustain that. I'm trying a new thing where I repeat each
dialogue dozens of times over the course of 2 or 3 weeks (~15 times the first day to learn, then a few times each
day after that for a while for review), shadowing and mimicking as closely as possible each time. It really seems to
drill the language into my brain, which is then further helped by putting it into Anki after the initial few weeks. We'll
see how it goes.

OK, that's all for now. Translation work seems like it's picking back up all of a sudden, so I may be busy for a while.



OneEye
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4316 days ago

520 posts - 265 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, Taiwanese, German, French

 
 Message 40 of 41
11 March 2014 at 3:28pm | IP Logged 
I just started a new blog called The Japanese Project and updated my profile here accordingly. It's basically just a
way for me to keep track of my progress for now (I don't have much to say on learning Japanese yet), but if you're
into that, take a look.

Edited by OneEye on 11 March 2014 at 3:28pm




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